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Abel to Yzerman

Just When You Thought Dater Couldn’t Get Any Dumber

W.T.F.  Off the California coast in late July and it’s frigging cold.  Somebody (Rummy, Calquake?) sold me a bad bill of frigging goods with this one.  A minor irritation compared to the fact that I just can’t seem to muster a Wing-related thought that doesn’t center around Willa, which is disturbing.  So, we turn to trusty Google and see where it takes me.  A simple news search for The Best Franchise In Hockey usually produces immediate gratification.

Google directed me to Malik at Snapshots who took me to the website for Bettman’s closed circuit TV station. Ready? I know you are. 

What do the following players all have in common?

Getlzaf. Backstrom. Thornton. Koivu (Mikko), Malkin, Richards and Toews. Sedin (Henrik), our boy Dats, and the league’s most illegitimate fraud of a captain (Rosby)?

Well, according to sobbing Dive apologist, flip flopping OLN “writer” and all around biotch Adrienne Dater?  They’re all better centers than Hank Zetterberg. Check out some of the rosy-cheeked, gushing, gobbling praise he lopped on his top ten. 

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh - Sorry, but you gotta go with The Kid here. Another 100-point season, 56 percent success rate on faceoffs, heroism for Canada in the Olympics, a Stanley Cup the year before that. It’s all been right on schedule for the the player with the biggest buildup since Gretzky.

Aww. Cute.  Little Gary’s got a prize for you Dater.  What you failed to mention, and we will since you left #40 out, is that Zetterberg has owned Thid’s ass in every single man on punk matchup they’ve had.  More times than not, we’ve seen Rosby sputtering and spewing while Z skated away laughing or blew his comments off in the post game presser.  Is Gary’s Baby Boy deserving of a huge mention in this list? Of course. He’s a great offensive talent. But like the rest, he’s not the overall center Zetterberg is.

4. Jonathan Toews, Chicago - Every time you might want to drop this kid down another notch, conscience finally won’t allow it. People look at his point total for last year—68 in 76 games—and wonder if maybe he’s a tad overrated. Uh, no.

The kid is a winner, a leader, a guy I want on the ice in the last two minutes of any close game. Period. He won 57 percent of his faceoffs last year, seventh-best in the league.

I dig Toews. I do. He’s got some characteristics we all find familiar. And, like Gary’s wet dream in Pittsburgh, he absolutely belongs on this list.  However…“a guy I want on the ice in the last two minutes of any close game. Period.” Yeah, ummm.  I’m betting that if Dater, that ambitious scribe, had taken the time to actually ask that question to anyone who legitimately covers the game?  They’d pick Zetterberg when the decision boils down to those criteria.

There’s still this lingering feeling that Malkin is too much of a floater who doesn’t get dirty enough. And yet, you can’t deny the talent or the numbers. The guy won a Cup last year, and put up 36 points in 24 playoff games. By definition, that’s a winning player.

Yeah, dumbass. You just described the anti-Hank. Zetterberg is the guy who NEVER floats and gets dirty every frigging shift.  The best defensive center in the game, and a clutch scorer.  Brilliant analysis.

I thought about dropping him out of the top 10. But not only were the scoring numbers still there last year in the regular season, but Jumbo Joe finally started leading the way to some playoff success.

You should have thought a bit harder Ginger.  Ooooh, he “started leading the way to SOME playoff success.”  That’s nice.  And the Cup total?  Look that up and get back to me.

10. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim - Let the outrage begin, fans of Anze Kopitar, Eric Staal, Paul Stastny. Those are three tough omissions right there, but first let’s tout the virtues of Getzlaf sneaking onto this list.

It’s not so bad that he included Getzlaf, a shit bag tool himself, but then he tells “fans of Kopitar, Staal and Stastny” that he understands their outrage?  Seriously, Dater…I’m not sure how you could suck more than that. Now it’s not only ten centers in the NHL who are better than Z.  It’s 13.  Strong work, Adrian. Strong. Frigging. Work.

Perhaps he should travel a bit. I found a guy on River Monsters the other night (actually my wife found it, amazing woman that she is, and recommended I share it with the 19) who probably knows more about hockey than Dater does.


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AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

And I just added some additional numbers and removed the unnecessary filler.

You also fed the troll.  Look at his name and his avatar and then try to tell me he’s here for legitimate debate, rather than to get some twisted jollies by thinking he’s pissing us off.  If he’s above the age of fourteen, spare a thought for what kind of psyche gets joy from that.

Then don’t feed the troll.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/24/10 at 05:56 PM ET

monkey's avatar

And for anyone who cares (no one?), this offseason suck has spread to soccer. Corinthians’ head coach just left to take control of the Braszilian national team. His first game will be against USA next month. Shit.

An encore showing of the Nutcracker Suite!  If that doesn’t deserve an exclamation mark nothing ever will.

Posted by monkey from Prague on 07/24/10 at 09:58 PM ET

pgoody's avatar

Its ‘bout to get nasty… pork rines…

Posted by pgoody on 07/24/10 at 10:38 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar



Let me make this perfectly clear:

Dater, you moronic, Av-fellating buffoon, you HAVE no friends in Detroit.

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 07/25/10 at 03:07 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but doesn’t “floater’ Malkin play the wing about as much as Z?

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 07/24/10 at 02:30 PM ET

He might this upcoming year, but not really.  My understanding is that Malkin has asked specifically not to be put on wing, even though the two biggest things that separate what a center does from a winger are two weak parts of his game: faceoffs and defensive-zone play.

Posted by Net Master5 on 07/24/10 at 01:15 PM ET

The use of the word “nutz” and “credibility” in the same paragraph was a nice touch.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/25/10 at 11:51 AM ET

MarkK's avatar

Henrik Zetterberg, DET 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Posted by Claude from Colorado on 07/24/10 at 01:01 AM ET

So, on this list Zetterberg had more votes than both Malkin and Toews combined.  Not sure the point you’re trying to make.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 07/25/10 at 12:25 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Now now children, you all know better than to get upset at anything A. Dater has to offer.  He’s like the ace of spades in my deck of troll cards.  He’s like the treehouse club leader of ignorant trolls everywhere.  He’s like the Kim Jong Il of the Democratic People’s Republic of Trollea.  Or something.  He’s also into scatplay.

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 07/25/10 at 02:00 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

His first game will be against USA next month. Shit.

Oh Sh*t.

Hey Herm, can we invert the H2H in four years and swing a 19_2_Rio event for the 2014 World Cup?  I really, really want to go.  I mean, all the ladies in Brasil and the food and the beaches and all of that.  Plus maybe catch a match or two (Devil knows if I’ll get around to that).

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 07/25/10 at 02:25 PM ET

Andy from FightNight's avatar

I love Datsyuk and Zetterberg.  I love Getzlaf.  I love Ovechkin.  And I love Crosby.  The hate just legitamizes anyone who says Crosby is the best.  If he were on you’re team and you watched his 82 games…yea, you’d know that this guy is a class act that works his tail off. Does he dive? Yep.  Does he whine? Yep.  Did Gretzky? Yep.  Did Lemieux? Yep. Does anyone who wants to win the game whine to refs here and there? Yep.  So before you yell at bandwagoners, make sure you look at your own wheels.

Posted by Net Master5 on 07/24/10 at 01:15 PM ET

1. Learn to spell big words before you use them. Even I, a Norwegian, can spell “legitimize”

2. Bandwagon? Uhhh… yeah.. this is Detroit. Should I give you directions to Chicago? I assume that’s where you thought you were going.

3. He dive and whines. And we don’t like it. In Hockeytown people don’t do that shit. And we have a right to hate him for it.

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 07/25/10 at 05:14 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 07/25/10 at 03:14 PM ET

... plus he ‘rabbit punches’.

and punches opponents in the nutsack ...

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 07/25/10 at 05:48 PM ET

wedge56's avatar

I can’t believe Hasek isn’t on Dater’s list.

Posted by wedge56 on 07/25/10 at 07:48 PM ET

edillac's avatar

Is it too soon to worry about another NHL lockout?
By Adrian Dater

Yes, it is. I’m going to start now though.

Talking with a couple of agents, a player here and there, an NHL management type here and there the last few days, and it’s clear to me that the impossibility that we all would assume for the NHL — that it is THE league we’d least have to worry about with regard to another long work stoppage, because of its recent past — is indeed possible.

I’m going to keep this kind of general for now, because it’s a blog and the expiration of the current NHL CBA is still another two seasons away, in September of 2012. I still have a hard time — a really hard time — believing that the NHL and its players would ever let another disastrous canceled season happen. The lost year of 2004-05 remains a dark, awful memory for everyone involved with this game. All that griping, all that posturing, all those “drop-dead deadlines”, all those false starts and crushed hopes. It was awful, and it really hurt the game a lot. Many fans still haven’t come back to the sport, though revenues have grown since ‘05, the cap has grown from $39 million to the current $59.4 million and TV ratings have improved greatly.

So why am I worried already? Because I’m a bit of a neurotic first off, a classic glass-is-half-empty kind of guy. In my kind of outlook on life, you go into everything expecting the worst and if it doesn’t happen, it’s a wonderful day, so you’re “happy.” If the worst does happen, you were ready for it. And I’m not changing my stripes at this point.

But secondly, this guy makes me a little nervous:
Charming looking fella isn’t he? That’s Donald Fehr (pronounced “FEAR”), in case you didn’t know, the man who led the baseball players union for 26 years and a couple of work stoppages, including the one that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. Fehr left the MLBPA last year, but he could become the next director of the NHLPA as soon as Wednesday. The NHLPA is holding meetings Tuesday and Wed. in Toronto and could name the successor to Paul Kelly, who was ousted in a despicable, ugly palace coup by scheming, infighting players and other underlings. (This story by longtime hockey writer Jim Kelley summarizes the situation nicely).

Fehr has been working with the NHLPA as an unpaid adviser, but has dropped hints he might take over as director for a while and groom a potential successor. The players clearly want him to take over.

Again, it’s a little early to fret too much, but already there are whispers that, under Fehr, the players might try to abolish the current hard salary cap and get a soft-cap, luxury-tax, revenue-sharing style system that baseball has had for the last seven years. Basically, that would mean that teams could spend as much as they wanted on players again, provided they pay the tax over a certain threshold. The Yankees, of course, are the only team to have paid it every single year.

This would all be “over our dead bodies” of Gary Bettman and NHL owners, right? After all, they had no problem canceling a whole season to get that hard cap. I would say that a majority of owners and certainly Bettman would say “over our dead bodies” to a giveback of the hard cap, but under Donald Fehr the players almost certainly wouldn’t be the pushovers they were last time. This is a guy who ruled with an iron fist over already spoiled baseball players and never gave an inch. Bob Goodenow was seen as that kind of guy once too, but the players caved when Bettman and Co. finally called their bluff, and Goodenow was thrown under the bus, as were Ted Saskin and Kelly (which is something that would definitely give me pause if I were Fehr), but Fehr just isn’t a guy who would put up with any such nonsense if he takes the job. You can bet he’ll have it in writing a hundred different ways that no such Brutus-Caesar routine would again take place under his watch and disgrace his reputation like the others.

Why, you ask, would either side want things to change right now? After all, the cap has gone up by $20 million in five years, which should make the players pretty happy. All the salaries are tied to a percentage of league revenues, so the owners have “cost certainty” and can only spend to a certain amount anyway, which should make them happy too. What’s the problem?

For starters, all the players hate the fact that they have to put aside a certain amount every year in escrow to cover any projected revenue shortfalls. This past season, players lost 12 percent of their salaries to escrow, money that won’t come back. You won’t hear any player say this publicly, but I’ve heard more than once this kind of sentiment privately: “Hey, I’m basically only making about 45 cents on the dollar. I got 35-45 percent in taxes to the government, I gotta pay my agent (typically 1 percent of total salary) and now I get dinged another 12 percent.”

Granted, players actually made money in escrow under the current CBA a couple of times, when revenues exceeded expectations and they got a premium of a percent or two. But not the last couple of years, and agents are really starting to hear it from their players. And, are the owners totally happy with the current CBA? You’d think so, but that’s not what I’m hearing.

Here’s why:

*** Think about it: small-market teams before the lockout are still small-market teams now, making whatever dollars they make at the gate and whatever piddling money they’re getting in TV money now (more on that in a bit). Ticket sales in cities like Atlanta, Phoenix, Anaheim, Carolina, Columbus, Nashville, Tampa, the other team in Florida, etc., etc., weren’t all that great last year. Granted, none were Stanley Cup winners and no marketing plan succeeds quite like winning, but they aren’t making much more, if at all, in ticket sales than they were right before the lockout.

But every NHL team MUST spend a minimum of $43.4 million this coming season on player salaries alone. Think about it — that’s $4.4 million MORE than the cap ceiling of 2005. In some private conversations with some high-level NHL people, some owners — mostly in small to medium markets — are mad at having to spend so MUCH right now just to field a team for one year.

More private grumbling goes like this:

We could have had a fixed $47.5 million hard cap ceiling for SIX YEARS in ‘05 with no linkage to revenues — that’s what the players publicly, in fact, offered — and we didn’t take it. We could have even had them at $45 million and we didn’t take it. Now it’s a $43.4 million floor, which makes the small-market teams like us unhappy, and the big-market, hockey-mad teams who have money to burn — the Torontos, the Chicagos, the Bostons, the Philadelphias, the Montreals, the Rangers — are unhappy because not only can’t they spend to what they want to keep the fans there who spend big money on tickets happy, but they also have to share revenue with the smaller guys.

Now, Chicago has had to break up a potential dynasty because of the cap, getting rid of half their Cup winning team a month later. So do you think they’re happy now with a cap system? And do you think the league loves that a big-market team that gave them great revenues and TV ratings could be just a one-year wonder?

And the smaller guys aren’t getting enough revenue-sharing to stay healthy anyway (the current figure is around $90 million a year that is being split by the 30 teams, with lower half in revenues receiving the lion’s share obviously. In the NFL, revenue sharing currently is around $100 million PER TEAM). Look at Phoenix, look at Atlanta.”

One prominent person who sides with the NHLPA said this: “If you look at some of the stuff the PA proposed before the lockout — a revenue-sharing, luxury-tax proposal — and you get some forensic accountants and model it out based on NHL revenues since then with the same level of spending by each team currently, every single team would be doing better than they are right now. That’s the dirty little secret that Gary Bettman doesn’t want the media to ever pick up on.”

It was pointed out that a team such as Columbus or Nashville probably is bringing in only $60 million or so currently. If they’re spending a minimum of $43.4 million on players, plus salaries for staff, travel, all the other little expenses that come with running a team, and their total revenues are only $60 million or so, then, yeah, they’re losing $10-15 million a year probably.

Granted, people from the PA side tend to do more of the griping right now and that’s just one side of the story. I’m sure Bettman would counter that with a very verbose argument, but he’s not going on the record tonight here at All Things Avs.

*** There’s an awful lot of worry that the hard-cap, everybody’s equal system will produce another Edmonton-Carolina, Anaheim-Ottawa type of Stanley Cup Finals. Crass as it sounds, the reality is NHL execs, owners (except in those cities) and TV execs live in fear of such match-ups occurring again, because they got NO ratings and probably never would. No ratings means no TV money, and no TV money is a big reason why the last lockout happened and could happen again.

The last three years, the league has “lucked” out, with two straight Detroit-Pittsburgh and one Philly-Chicago Finals matchups. Pittsburgh may not be a huge market, but Sidney Crosby is the biggest household name in the game still, and Philly-Chicago was perfect — two big-market teams with great fans, players and atmospheres. But if this year’s Final is between, say, Columbus and Atlanta? It’ll be right back to those 0.9 types of national ratings.

This is why the next negotiation between the NHL and a U.S. broadcast partner is so HUUUUUGE. It really is. The league’s current U.S. TV deals with Versus and NBC (soon to be under the same corporate owner, Comcast, if their bid for NBC gets approved) expire after this season. Exact dollar figures on the current deals with both partners are hard to come by, because NBC paid no up-front rights fee the last time, basically splitting the ad revenue they got from the games with the league. Versus isn’t believed to have paid much further north than the $75 million range for its rights this past season. NBC probably wasn’t worth much more than $60 million this year I’ve been told by a couple people, though I do not have hard proof of either of those numbers and they are to be taken in more of a speculative form).

Bettman, it would seem, would be very smart to want to get the next TV deals wrapped up before this coming season is over, because who knows if he gets a Columbus-Atlanta final or not (no offense you two, but you know the national numbers wouldn’t be good) and has to go to the table with another 0.9 rating to sell? The ratings for the Philly-Chicago series were astronomical by previous NHL standards (into the 5’s and 6’s), and the numbers overall were good on Versus for the year and into the playoffs (full disclosure, I write a freelance NHL column for Versus.com). If he goes to the table with the most recent Finals to sell, as well as the overall numbers for the year, then he’s got much better leverage.

The scuttlebutt I’ve heard is this: Bettman wants $250 million a year, minimum, on the next TV deal, and let’s say for this example that would be from two partners as it currently stands (and remember, Versus and NBC could essentially be the same entity soon). $250 million a year would allow the league to sustain its weaker revenue, smaller-market teams for the foreseeable future. $250 million a year, guaranteed, would be a little less than double the current U.S. deals (don’t forget, the league gets a pretty good chunk of change (not sure how much though) from Canadian broadcasters, where the ratings are great and is the No. 1 sport of the country).

The NBA signed an eight-year, $7.4 billion deal with its broadcast partners in 2007. That’s about $930 million a year.

Based on last year’s ratings, $250 million a year could still be quite a bargain for an NHL broadcast partner in the U.S. Bettman probably could get more if he goes to the table with this spring’s ratings.
But the deal with Versus and NBC expires in June of next year, after the Finals. If it’s Columbus-Atlanta (no offense you two, I love ya), then all bets are off how much the league gets.

That’s why the NHL, of course, would always want big-market teams like Chicago, Philly, the Rangers, L.A., Boston or, maybe (even though the Canadian ratings don’t apply to the U.S. numbers) a Toronto in the Finals. But I am not a conspiracy nut who believes that the NHL fixes who makes it to the Finals, any more than I am that Boston or the Lakers seem to make it (a lot!) to the NBA Finals because of David Stern or referee puppetry.

A no-cap, baseball-style system would certainly make it easier for big-market teams to get to the Finals, ensuring the NHL would have boffo TV ratings and make more money for everyone. But do we really want another NHL where it’s just the Rangers, Detroit, Philly, etc., etc. (even the Avs when they want to) spending all the money and buying up all the “best” players? Do we really want a league where it’s the Yankees-Red Sox every year? I’m a die-hard Chowd fan from back in the day, of course, so you might think I love it, but really I’m almost as sick as everyone else seeing them and the Yankees every year, while all the small-market teams try to nibble on the crumbs.

The NHL’s current CBA ensures every team has the same shot, theoretically anyway, as everyone else to win a Cup. But that means you run the risk of nobody watching your biggest event of the year (and nobody watched those San Antonio NBA finals, or Houston or Orlando when they made it too. The ratings for those NBA finals were bad, under the 10 mark).

There is no perfect system. Everybody always has a gripe in this stuff (but of course, they shouldn’t, because they’re all doing what we’d kill to do and getting paid a good dollar regardless).
I just hope common sense prevails at the next CBA talks, and we don’t go through what we did five and six years ago.

But I worry.

Posted by edillac from isolation on 07/27/10 at 07:52 AM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com